All U.S. Goals Not Achieved
The U.S. is Losing Its War Against Afghanistan
In October of 2001, the U.S. went to war against Afghanistan. At first it seemed to succeed, but now it faces imminent defeat on every priority that it sought to achieve. Here is a review of the current situation.
by Hanno T. BeckAs of September 2003, how is the U.S. faring in its war against Afghanistan? Let's look:
1. The U.S. sought to destroy the al-Qaeda organization. That effort failed rather badly, as al-Qaeda has continued to sponsor bombings and other destructive activities. Some commentators note that al-Qaeda has actually been more active and destructive since the U.S. war began.
2. The U.S. sought to capture or murder Osama bin Laden. It is possible that bin Laden is dead. But Bush has not claimed this. Instead, the Bush administration has attempted to cover up the whole point. Originally this was the single largest reason for going to war against Afghanistan -- remember, none of the 9/11 hijackers were Afghan. But, strangely, Bush has flipflopped and now his primary justification for killing thousands of Afghan civilians is not even mentioned. Osama bin Laden, who used to be the #1 "most wanted" suspect, is not discussed. The Bush administration has not merely failed to achieve its goal, it is acting nervous and worried as though it's covering up a scandal!
3. The U.S. at first claimed it had no quarrel with the Taliban; then, after the invasion began, the U.S. decided it wanted to destroy the Taliban. This effort has been a miserable failure. The Taliban have been removed from the largest of Afghanistan's government groups -- but that government, installed by the U.S. military, has no real power of its own, and the Taliban holds large portions of the country. Recent articles in the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, and Eurasia.net have drawn attention to this.
4. The U.S. wanted to stop opium from being grown in Afghanistan. In fact, the Bush administration sent money to the Taliban during 2001, as a bribe to get the Taliban to cut its opium exports. Although we deplore the immoral technique and dealing with the corrupt Taliban, the bribery did succeed and the opium crop that year was tiny. Then came war, and the U.S. was in charge. Failure again. The 2003 opium crop is considered to be the largest ever.
5. The U.S. sought democracy and recognition of women's rights in Afghanistan. So far, it has failed. Most of the country does not have democratic government. Attacks on women and girls, often with the intent of barring them from educational opportunities, continue to occur. But the U.S. claims still to be trying to work on these goals, so perhaps there is still some hope in these areas. (However, please note -- Critics of this and other U.S. wars have pointed out how rare it has been for a war to bring about a stable democracy. If democracy and social justice were truly concerns of the U.S., the government could have promoted those without violence and indeed without coercion of any kind.)
War is a serious thing. Innocent people die. Lives are ruined. When the U.S. goes to war against another nation, its goals should be important and the government should be open about its successes and failures.
Hanno T. Beck is the publisher of The Progress Report.
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